Self-reflection is one of the primary practices found in the Islamic holy days called Ramadan. Ramadan is a devotional month of self-reflection and a general strengthening of one’s relationship with God. It is a month of daily practice and focus upon God, the blessings one receives, atonement, and renewal.
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaw back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Self-reflection often brings us face to face with painful feelings that are difficult to examine. But efforts to reflect on and release energies like anger and resentment can lay a foundation for the process of forgiveness. As we learn to face our own impulses and reactions, it becomes easier to understand the actions of others. Forgiveness then becomes a practice of looking beneath the surface of a person’s behavior to acknowledge the deeper spiritual essence that is worthy of our respect.
If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.
If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land –
that sacred earth that is your body.
If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.
Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.
Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and the future?
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.
Be kind to yourself, dear – to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
You will come to see that all evolves us.
~ Rumi ~
(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West)